Common Psychological Issues Linked to HIV

When health issues are brought to mind, a wide range of bodily aches and pains may come up in the association, but many medical health concerns are further complicated by issues that extend to the realm of mental health. Sometimes making health concerns more prominent or debilitating and able to lower motivation for seeking treatment, psychological issues connected to medical health worries can significantly detract from the overall quality of life, making potentially already-difficult situations still more challenging for clients. Those who have been diagnosed with HIV are often at a major risk of developing one or several psychological issues, and may even experience these issues before the results of a test are known. By working with qualified mental health professionals to understand and confront these concerns, however, HIV clients can often lead to more fulfilling lives.

Common Psychological Issues Linked to HIV

One of the most common psychological issues linked to HIV is depression, a mental health concern which affects scores of Americans and people from countries around the world. Generally characterized by intense feelings of sadness or despair, depression can also yield periods of apparent emotional apathy or burnout. In many cases, depression is marked by physical fatigue and a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities. People suffering from depression may experience an unwillingness to engage in social functions and may simply wish to stay in bed –though difficulty sleeping is another common symptom. Thoughts and feelings of depression can stem from biological as well as emotional issues; while the stress of an HIV positive diagnosis and the process of coming to terms with a fatal disease may encourage the onset of depression, low energy, loss of appetite, and other physical factors may play a role in fostering depression among those who are unaware of their infection.

Another prominent mental health concern often experienced in tandem with HIV is anxiety. Typically felt during and after receiving an HIV test, anxiety can also become an issue at other points in a person’s life, whether or not they have the virus or know that they’ve contracted a strain. Anxiety is often marked by feelings of extreme worry, racing thoughts, and a sense of inability to act while possibly experiencing physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues, sweaty palms, an increased heart rate, and faintness. Anticipating extensive medical treatment or complications, as well as talking to others about HIV, may bring up powerful feelings of anxiety in clients.

Many modern professionals with diverse backgrounds have specific experience in working with HIV positive clients and can help clients reach a greater understanding of the virus as well as methods for living well mentally while confronting an infection. Through addressing mental as well as physical symptoms of HIV, clients can lead more prosperous lives.

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Casual Dating with an STD

If you have recently been infected with an STD, you may feel that your casual dating days are over – but this does not necessarily have to be the case. Casual dating can be a challenge if one or both partners have STDs, and there are a number of additional considerations that need to be taken into esaccount. But it is possible to enjoy meeting people and dating on a casual basis when you have an STD, and STD dating sites make the process much more straightforward and less risky. Here are a few things you should consider if you are looking to date on a casual basis after being diagnosed with an STD.

Educate yourself on the risks of transmission

You should know when you are likely to be infectious and under what circumstances your infection can be spread. This can help you protect future partners and reduce the spread of the disease in the wider community. Being armed with the knowledge to help you reduce your risk of passing on your infection can also help you feel more empowered and in control.

Inform your partners of your STD

Whether you have met the love of your life, or you are just having a bit of fun, it is essential that you let any partners know about your STD status before sexual contact takes place. Let them know what the risks of becoming infected are so they can make an informed decision whether to proceed. Many people living with an STD such as HIV try to find a new partner on STD dating sites such as Poz Personals. In that way they don’t have to worry much about spreading the infection during sexual intercourse.

Use protection and get regular testing

Just because you already have an STD doesn’t mean you can’t become infected with a different one. And even if your prospective partner has the same STD as you, it doesn’t mean you can safely have unprotected sex either. Some infections come with multiple strains, and you could be at risk of reinfecting each other with a different strain of the same disease.

Always use protection with a new partner, and make sure you get tested regularly if you are sexually active so you can protect yourself and any future partners you may have.
Having an STD does not have to mean an end to your dating life. Things may be a little more complicated, and you may have to have an extra conversation beforehand, but plenty of STD sufferers enjoy healthy and active sex lives after being diagnosed with an STD or an STI.

Building Healthy Self Esteem

Discovering you have an STD can be a blow to your self-esteem. Although you are the same person you always were, with so many negative and inaccurate views of STDs and those who suffer from them, it is easy to become vulnerable to feelings of shame, embarrassment and low self worth because of your diagnosis. Having healthy self esteem is vitally important for your confidence, self-worth and relationships with others. Here are some tips to help you regain your feelings of self worth and dignity and take a positive approach to the future.

Remember You Are Still the Same Person You Were Before The Diagnosis
Although you may need to make a few adjustments to your lifestyle or take medication, your diagnosis hasn’t changed who you are. This is particularly true if you are feeling affected by the unfortunately still prevalent attitude that having an STD makes you dirty or promiscuous, or somehow lesser than someone without one. Taking some time to remind yourself who you are, what is important to you and what your plans and dreams are, may help you to keep your sense of self.

Keep Things in Perspective

An STD may have all sorts of stigmas attached, but in reality, it is just an infection like any other. You wouldn’t feel like a lesser person if you had a nasty case of the flu or an ear infection, would you? Just because STDs are transmitted during sex doesn’t mean they are any different from other infections, or that you are any different from anyone else. Anybody can catch an STD regardless of age, sexual history and lifestyle, and they are more common than many people realize.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Finding supportive friends, family members or a professional to talk to can help you focus on the positives and work through any negative feelings you might be having. Spending time with those who see STDs as part of normal life and can look beyond your illness and remind you that you are still the same person you always were may help you regain your confidence and self esteem.

Where possible, avoid spending time with judgmental people or those who take an overly negative view of STDs. When it comes to dating, you still deserve to be treated with the same respect as before, so make sure you don’t settle for second-rate treatment from your partner or stay in a relationship that is not working. Although you may face rejection from some potential partners based on your STD status, it is important to stay positive and believe that the right person is out there for you, just like for everyone else.

5 Common Myths About Dating With HIV

When you are first diagnosed with a long term health condition like HIV, there can be a lot to take in. You will probably go through a number of different emotions and stages before you come to terms with your diagnosis. Fortunately, there is a lot of information out there about HIV and dating with HIV, but it is easy to become overwhelmed. Protect yourself and any future partners you have, by seeking advice from a medical professional regarding the risk of infecting future partners, and how you can best prevent this happening.

Here are some of the common myths surrounding dating with HIV.

If you are HIV positive you can never date again

Although you will need to make some adjustments, plenty of HIV positive people go on to find love and enjoy happy fulfilling relationships. It may be a bit more challenging, and the path may be a bit less smooth, but just because you have HIV you don’t have to live like a hermit for the rest of your life.

If you and your partner are both HIV positive you don’t need to practice safe sex
Even if both partners have tested HIV positive it is possible to be re-infected with a different strain of the illness. Re-infection could lead to ongoing health problems, including resistance to medication. Having sex without a condom could leave you vulnerable to other STDs, which could compromise your health.

Using condoms means I can’t infect my partner

Although using condoms can greatly reduce the risk of infection, nothing except complete abstinence can guarantee you or your partner will be protected from becoming infected with HIV. Your best defence is to educate yourself and your partner on the risks and decide from there.

Because I already have HIV there is no need to get tested

Having HIV does not mean you are not at risk of developing other STDs. With your immune system already compromised, it is important that you take care to avoid any potential infections.

Because I am HIV positive I will never be able to have children

It is possible for HIV positive couples to have children without infecting them. You don’t need to give up on your dream of having a family because of your HIV status.

Discovering that you have been infected with HIV can be a huge shock and it may take a while to come to terms with your illness and what it means for your health and the future. Millions of people who have HIV lead happy, productive and fulfilled lives and go on to find love – hopefully you can too!